With Scottish Winter climbing finally getting into some sort of condition we’ve had the chance to put the Mountain Hardwear Superforma™ Gloves through their paces.
The Superforma™ is a short cuff GoreTex lined climbing glove insulated with ThermalQ™ Elite insulation and a fleece/wool lining. They also incorporate Touchscreen compatible Stimulus™ technology so it is possible to do basic operations with your touch screen smartphone or camera without removing the gloves. The Superforma™ have been designed with dexterity in mind where climbers will be manipulating gear in cold conditions and have a pre-curved cut with a design that creates a leather stall or cup around the end of each finger. Together with the stretchy material over the back of the hand this meant there was no resistance when flexing and no feeling of fatigue as you can get with some waterproof insulated gloves. The broad velcro cuff allowed easy and secure fastening around the wrist easily fitting under or over my base layer, R1 and Bergelmir shell jacket cuff – you might struggle to fasten them over more bulky layers however and they felt more at home under the hardshell cuff.
Fit wise the Superforma™ in a medium fitted my medium/large hands well (I’m between an 8 and 9 glove size).
The Superforma™ gloves first outing was a pre Christmas trip to the Ben with typically soft wet snow conditions. We opted for for Tower Ridge on the (almost) shortest day and under the slowest, soft snow over rock conditions – as you do. Conveniently these are also great conditions to find out if gloves are waterproof and warm! Firstly waterproof wise they passed with flying colours there was no detectable ingress of snow melt and my hands remained dry throughout baring the odd occasion taking a glove off for some tasks. The wool fleece lining passed the inversion test as well there was no issue with the liner pulling inside out or getting bunched so you couldn’t get your hand back in – if a glove fails this it is instantly retired from my Scottish wardrobe! Warmth wise I’d say the Superforma™ were on the medium light insulation side which is my preference for this style of glove – too much insulation and they become bulky and clunky and I use trigger finger mitts if its that cold. The leather palms felt secure on axes and manipulating gear and have proven hard wearing so far – there are a fair few seams however and only long term use will tell if they compromise durability at all. The only slight issue I found was the tendency for the back of the glove to hold moisture – I’m not sure if it is just the permeable outer stretch fabric or if it is soaking through to a layer of insulation before being blocked by the GoreTex barrier but there was certainly some absorption in the very wet snow conditions. Come January a trip to the Northern Corries allowed me to use them for some proper mixed work and they felt right at home. I know many climbers like a very light glove for mixed but I get cold hands and unless it is super technical a glove like the Superforma™ is my preferred choice. Even on short passages of scratchy 7 they worked brilliantly allowing easy selection and placing of small wires and feeling solid on the tools – loved them! The fingers fitted me particularly well with no flop though they seemed to lack insulation at the tip this probably helped with the dexterity.
Overall a good mid-weight waterproof glove that is well suited to technical climbing. Some damp absorption issues but no leaking through and they have so far proven robust.
- Outer fabric insulation absorbs water
Richie is the enthusiastic amateur of the team. Enjoying all aspects of climbing but especially alpine, winter and his local grit . Having managed to survive the vagaries of both fluorescent Koflachs and rainbow tights in the 80s he looks forward to an even more stylish future. A shady past in mountain marathons and adventure races, including the Marathon des Sables, means he’s an advocate of fast and light. Though the former is debatable if you’ve seen him on a tricky lead!
Disclaimer – CGR reviewers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene reasons and more often they’re in no fit state to return!